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Onion varieties suited for dry areas

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Onion varieties suited for dry areas.

Bulb onions are the best to be grown in the drylands. The varieties are Red creole, Bombay red, Texas grano, Tropicana F1 hybrid, Orient F1, Sivan F1 hybrid, BGS 130, Flare F1 and Pinoy F1.

Onions should be planted in well-drained fertile soils with pH 6.0-7.0 and should have good water-holding capacity. Onions are propagated from seed or sets (tinny immature bulbs) or transplants.

When planted from seed, the rate is 3kg per hectare (1.2kg per acre). Land preparation should be done to a fine tilth. When using transplants, the seedlings should be transplanted when they reach pencil thickness (about 6-8 weeks) at a spacing of 30cm by 8cm.

You should apply 200kg/ha (2kg/100m2) of TSP fertiliser and top dress with 300kg/ha of CAN after 3 to 4 weeks. Light weeding should be done on a timely basis. You should watch out for pests such as onion thrips, onion flies, leaf miners and diseases like downy mildew, purple blotch, white bulb rot, onion rust and fusarium basal.

Harvesting should be done 3-5 months depending on the variety.

Source: African farm Resource Center